Voting is the most common way of choosing leaders in the continents. Voting rights are the privileges given to those who have acquired the requirements to vote, for example, attaining the required age of eighteen years. However, restrictions are placed on some people as prisoners and ex-members of parliament. A case in point is observed in the UK where prisoners are denied the right to vote. This may be a major setback to the social life of those citizens behind bars, but may also act as a control measure for security reasons in the state of UK. Issuing the inmates with a right to vote may have both positive, and negative effects to the state.
There is no reason to deprive the prisoners their rights to vote. They should be allowed to continue being registered in the voting registrars. Though they are imprisoned, they should be given the right to vote because they are citizens of the UK, and they are undergoing a process of transformation or rather changing their lives. This can be a show of justice to all the citizens. They do have a variety of ways in which they can come up and express their views. This can be arranged by the prisons management of UK, of which it will ensure an effective and efficient voting process, is carried out. They may have many burning issues but, without the management’s support, they may end up being neglected, and thus continue languishing in their problems. Voting would encourage them to put up the issues and seek assistance.
In the UK, for example, they do deny their prisoners the right to vote. This is a basic right for everyone and is vanishing for the prisoners, but the state has control over these laws. The UK citizens and above all the government should know and understand that the prisoners are not denied every right when detained, nor are they necessarily punished, they are just rehabilitated. Their voting rights can only be taken away by the prescription of the judges. However, they are human, and they deserve the right to have a say on issues affecting them. We need to realize that everybody has the capacity to change, and we can join hands in an effort to encourage positive change in the ex-prisoners, especially to the law of the state, perceiving this issue.
Denial of the rights to the prisoners may seem dehumanizing and hinders rehabilitation of the inmate psychology. Most of the citizens are misguided that prisoners convicted are sent to prison for punishment. However, this is all about rehabilitation, a place where they can create or get opportunities for personal transformation and turning away from the criminal activities. A prisoner’s rehabilitation must not curb the most basic right of a democratic process that is; choosing who to govern us. Denying them this right tends to dehumanizes them. The convicted criminals are not ejected from the society but are rather put in a rehabilitation centre. As such, they are still part of the UK state. Denying them some of the fundamental rights may harm them both socially and psychologically. Negativity may lead them to understand they are rejected persons in the society.
Some prisoners have earned the right to vote, and the state should allow them to vote. It will not make sense suppressing their rights, yet they can make a change through them. The human rights in every state require government to treat each citizen equally and fairly. This is without any favor or biasness and should clearly enforce everybody’s rights equally. Banning the inmates from voting could seem illegal and irrational. Some prisoners are released, and given temporary licenses to be employed in the community. They earn their status by good conduct and achieve low-risk assessment that can consider them safe and responsible. This can come as a preparation for their re-entry into the society. They should, therefore, equally exercise their rights to familiarize themselves back with the normal life in the society. This gives them a sense of belonging n strengthens their solidarity. They will be ready to work harder to keep their life going and also find a way of giving back to the society. This will enhance growth in the respective societies and the UK at large.
Most prisoners are sensible and knowledgeable of public affairs just like any other average citizen or voter in the UK. Their numbers might be of great help or useful in the elections; they are not total outcasts and should, therefore, be granted a chance to express their views. It is true they committed crime or were involved in illegal matters but giving them some political participation, provides a sensible form of rehabilitation. Giving a ban on their voting rights may despise them of their liberty. They may feel neglected and underrated in the society. This may also symbolize a sense of justice to the inmates. Some of the prisoners end bars, not because of their own misfortune, but due to pressure or influence. They should not, therefore, be judged as being harmful people with negativity, but we should appreciate and help them change positively. Some ex-prisoners without proper counseling end up going back to the criminal activities. Their knowledge of the public and political issues may also be a drive to the development of UK.
The voting rights may serve as a communication channel between the government agencies of UK with the inmates. For instance, if the voting rights were issued to the inmates, the politicians and members of parliament will have to go to the prisons. While being there, they will have to listen to the citizens behind bars. The inmates will feel free and get a chance to air out their views and work with the society and above all the government of the UK. This is so because they will come to an understanding, and they will feel they are not rejected or forgotten but included in every progress within the state. By virtue of knowing this, they will be ready to offer services, and give back to the state. They may also encourage their fellow citizens not to engage in criminal activities which creates a strong bond between the prisoners, and the public.
On the contrary, it is also right for a country to deprive a prisoner the right to vote. This answers best the question, "how can a law breaker help in making the law of which at first he/she broke?". It will be irrelevant to grant a person the right to make or implement something that he/she will not keep/ follow. As much as they are still UK citizens limiting some of the rights will help curb some of the criminal issues in the state, among them being denial of voting rights. Through this, the citizens will be cautious and fearful so as not to be caught in the trap of being sent to jail. All in all, the UK government argues that each state has a level of how it regulates the ban, and the different periods in which a prisoner can be given the voting rights. For example, a sentence below two or three years, can be granted a right to vote for only six months however, a sentence above the three years, may be given an automatic denial due to circumstances best known to the state leadership.
It should also serve as a form of punishment to the criminals. By being denied some of the rights as the rights to vote, they will be in a position, to avoid criminal activities at all costs. They will understand that when they get behind bars, they will not have a say on issues pertaining the public, and no one will listen to them no matter what. They will, therefore, continue languishing in problems up to the time of their release. This will make them extra careful in every activity they carry out, and will enhance the national security of UK.
Denying the prisoners the right to vote may serve it right because some of the prisoners may have bad intentions to the state. For example, a former civil servant implicated in a scandal, and convicted to a sentence may have ill or malicious motives towards the public, and more so the government. The prisoner may plan an attack or even try to overthrow the government. If such prisoners do have the voting rights they may influence fellow inmates to vote for an irregular candidate of which through him/her, they can plan harmful actions.
Another negative issue that may arise is that, it may be irrelevant to issue the voting rights to the inmates as they will lack the basic information about the electoral process. For instance, an inmate serving a five year sentence may not be updated to the current political affairs and, therefore, his/ her decision may not be that effective, even though it counts. It may be a waste of resources as time and capital to organize elections in the prisons. Of course, the inmates will vote, but will they understand who and what they are voting for? The primary knowledge they have may not be effective as to the free citizen of UK, who is not sentenced and has the full information. Getting to understand the candidate’s reason for election, and also the progress of the states’ administrative, is a major factor which may be limited to the inmates. Therefore, giving them an allowance to vote may be a waste of time and resources to the government of UK.
In most states in the UK, the society has the right to say that when someone commits a serious crime worthy to be sent behind bars, he/ she loses his/ her freedom and some privileges. Among these privileges, are the voting rights. This may serve as a punishment to those planning evil deeds, to the extent of losing their freedom, liberty, and some fundamental rights. If the rest of the citizens learn from this, it may be a good way of fighting crime within the UK land, of which security will foster development and growth.
All in all, giving the prisoners the right to vote outweighs the denial of the voting rights to them. However, the prisoners’ voting rights should be left at the parliamentary set up of the UK. This can be discussed in the national assembly where they can legislate a law of how the voting process in the prisons should be conducted. This could be tricky in some prisons as it concerns matters of security, truthfulness and openness of the voting rights and the voting processes. The law should, therefore, involve public consultation on how the rights can be granted and to which extent. The different views of the public will be better than making it in the national house level, where the parliamentarians sit alone. Incorporating the public views enhances integration of the different societies in the UK.
Above all, voting rights should come with strict and compact rules and regulations. Breaking any of the voting rules may lead to high level of punishment, as treason or even life imprisonment. This will help prisoners guard and exercise their rights correctly and maturely. For example, breaking a rule may lead to the extension of an inmate's sentence, or a transfer to a maximum security prison. All the same, during the registration process the management should only consider the eligible, responsible and well mannered prisoners. Concurrently, the voting rights should come with the crime committed or the length of the sentence. Some crimes limit some of the prisoners to vote. This may be due to the intention of the prisoner to the state. For example, a person convicted of political issues cannot acquire rights for voting. He/she may influence others negatively within the prison to overthrow the UK government.
In conclusion, passing the bill of the prisoners’ right to vote will be a great move by the UK government, but to some extent, they must be careful with how the right is allocated or given to the various inmates. The law will be a great move because it will incorporate every citizen, and they will feel free to air out their views openly. The prisoners too will be disciplined and careful so as not to lose their rights to vote by any chance.
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